When Kurt Cobain died in 1994 Rooney launched perhaps his most infamous rant. From the Wikipedia summary:
“I’d love to relieve the pain you’re going through by switching my age for yours.” In addition, he asked “What would all these young people be doing if they had real problems like a Depression, World War II or Vietnam?” and commented that “If [Cobain] applied the same brain to his music that he applied to his drug-infested life, it’s reasonable to think that his music may not have made much sense either.”
I swore then that on the day Rooney died there’d be a party at my house where we’d dance on the grave of the hateful bastard just as he had Cobain’s.
That Rooney apologized the following week doesn’t really matter to me. If he’d gone off about something he didn’t understand just this once, I’d get it. We all have our bad days and I don’t think our legacies should be defined by our worst moment. The problem is that “half-cocked” was Rooney’s brand. It was the rule, not the exception. His whole schtick was babbling about things he didn’t get. As it turns out, there were enough things he didn’t get to sustain a 33-year run on one of America’s most popular shows.
If only his brand had been about finding things he didn’t understand and then, you know, learning about them. Instead, he made a mint as TV’s version of the crotchety old geezer that we probably all know, the pissed off 150 year-old fossil shaking his cane at those damned kids to get off his lawn and venting a closet full of opinions that are as strongly held as they are ill-informed. Shit my granddad says. Times a hundred.
I never forgave Rooney for his spiteful and ignorant assault on Kurt Cobain and I never will. But the party tonight will have nothing to do with his passing. In the end, I can find no reason to make more of his death than I did his life.